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Old 04-12-2013
JonEisberg JonEisberg is offline
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Re: What strategy do you employ when using a drogue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flybyknight View Post
Get a copy of "Heavy Weather Sailing by K. Adlard Coles and you will find all your questions answered.
Heavy Weather Sailing - Alibris Marketplace
Dick
HEAVY WEATHER SAILING has long been considered the bible, but there are a few sources out there that are perhaps a bit more comprehensive re drag devices and their use...

Steve Dashew's SURVIVING THE STORM tops my own list - if you were only gonna read one book on heavy weather tactics, that's the one I'd suggest...

Others I'd recommend are Hal Roth's HANDLING STORMS AT SEA, HEAVY WEATHER TACTICS USING SEA ANCHORS & DROGUES by Earl Hinz, and Roger Marshall's ROUGH WEATHER SEAMANSHIP... Victor Shane's DROGUE DEVICE DATA BASE is by far the most comprehensive collection of accounts of a wide variety of drag devices used by all manner of vessels, very interesting reading, even if many of the accounts involve the use of parachutes by commercial fishing vessels, etc...

John Harries of MORGAN'S CLOUD has one of the best ongoing discussions of drogue usage on his website, which is one that every offshore sailor should have bookmarked, a fantastic resource:

Attainable Adventure Cruising

As to the OP's question, a couple of points...

We can only guess what sort of boat he's talking about here, but in general most boats will be better balanced and more easily managed sailing deep in heavier seas and winds under a small headsail/storm jib, than under a main alone... Most boats would rather be 'pulled' along in such conditions, rather than 'pushed'... Not to mention, one can immobilize the boom, eliminating the need for running a preventer, or the risk of an accidental jibe, etc...

There can certainly be such a thing as using 'too much drogue' in conditions that are boisterous, but not necessarily extreme... Again, not sure of what sort of drogue he's referring to, but chances are the use of a full series drogue would be overkill for the conditions that are typical for that passage, unless crew exhaustion became a factor, or the boat really had to be stabilized to effect a repair, or whatever...

With any drogue deployment, i'd recommend heaving-to to do so, rather than attempting to do so 'on the fly'... Greatly reduces the risk of a snag, injury, or the damage to vulnerable gear at the stern such as a wind vane... And, it goes without saying, one should make an effort to clear the stern of the usual accumulation of cruising crap before beginning any passage on which the deployment of a drogue might be necessary... Easier said than done on the vast majority of cruising boats out there today, of course...

The attachment and use of a series drogue came up recently on another board, the following is copied from my responses... the first is in regard to the shackle/chainplate attachment point for the bridle:

It's a good idea to try to do it your way, but then what are you using for your bridle? Is the width of the shackle's jaw sufficient to accommodate whatever size thimble you might be using? Or, might you have to employ 2 shackles, pin-to-pin, to make it work?

I was thinking of doing the same thing you are, when I first started out... But, my bridle is a pair of Yale mooring pennants, which use the heavy duty stainless thimbles with the higher sides than ordinary thimbles (the type you definitely want to use for this application, IMHO) And, the only type of shackle that will work with those eyes, is an appropriately sized bow shackle. I didn't like the idea of using 2 shackles, so I simply went with an oversized chainplate, allowing a margin for the pin to work a bit within the hole, as the boat yaws...

Don Jordan's recommendation on the bridle length is determined by the width of your transom, if memory serves... But what I thought was more important for me, was sizing the bridle so that each leg was IN LINE with the angle of the hull at the corner of the transom (and thus, the chainplate), when the bridle was taut (in the same way a chainplate should be in line with the angle of your shrouds, in other words)... Happily for me, the length of my bridle as recommended by Jordan coincided with the length that maintained that angle, anyway...




I've only deployed mine once, and then not in anger...

It was off the SC/GA seacoast several years ago, I wanted to give it a whirl to sort it all out... Wind as about 25 with higher gusts at the time, seas pretty steep as is typical through there...

Naturally, as soon as I had it deployed, the winds began to moderate noticeably...(grin) So, I only rode to it for less than an hour, but here are my impressions...

You've really got to take care deploying it, make sure everything is ready to run before putting anything in the water... I did pretty much the same as I do when deploying the rope and spinner for my towed generator. Lashed the anchor/bitter end to one corner of the transom, then let it out from the bridle end until half of it is out, then cut the lashing... that all went pretty smoothly, but it could be a whole different ballgame in more extreme conditions, and could be a very easy way to damage or lose your windvane... I can't imagine having to try it in a full gale, with something like a tender on davits, or half of the crap one sees festooning the sterns of so many boats out there today...

The much-touted "bungee effect" was definitely noticeable, even in such relatively moderate conditions, it settled things down pretty dramatically... I continued to run with the vane doing the steering, but even lashing the helm wouldn't have made much difference... In true storm force conditions, of course, things could be entirely different. You might feel the need to try to steer, but I imagine just lying to the drogue would be pretty effective...

Retrieving it was not nearly as difficult as I had imagined. I simply hove-to, and hauled it in over the quarter by hand - tiring for sure, but certainly do-able on my boat... I actually made a bit of a blunder deploying it in such shallow water, it was hanging pretty much straight down, and I suspect the anchor at the end of the drogue (22 lb Bruce, in my case) was laying on the bottom from time to time, I was lucky it didn't bite... (grin)

Main difficulty in retrieval, for me, is the fact that I've used Amsteel for mine, so it's pretty 'slippery'... A pair of those 'grabber' type gloves probably would have helped a bit...

Next time, although I've never seen this mentioned in any of the accounts I've read re the JSD, I'd think about attaching a fender to the end of the drogue at the anchor, using a line about 20' in length... I would hope this would serve to keep the end from sinking too much, and exerting too much of a downward pull on the stern, which a boat like mine is definitely vulnerable to, given her lack of buoyancy aft... Also, I think it would simply be nice to know where the end of the drogue is in the seas, and I would hope would greatly lighten the load during retrieval...

All in all, I was very favorably impressed with what I saw... But of course, I would be quite happy if I never had cause to put it in the water ever again... (grin)

Last edited by JonEisberg; 04-12-2013 at 03:29 PM.
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